DFL gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher announced Friday she wants to boost the state's minimum wage by $1.50 and then used the opportunity to take a shot at the Republican challenger.
She made the announcement less than a week after GOP-endorsee Tom Emmer said that he favors lowering the minimum wage for hospitality workers who earn tips.
“Clearly Tom Emmer is out of touch with the challenges facing hard-working families struggling in this economy," Kelliher said in a statement. "What he has proposed is no different than stealing tips off the tables of working people.”
Kelliher’s proposal would bring the minimum wage to $7.65 for employers with annual sales more than $625,000. The minimum wage would rise to $6.75 for small employers, with annual sales less than $625,000. Minnesota has the 44th lowest minimum wage rate in the nation, Kelliher said.
“As a working mom with two kids in public schools, I know how hard it is to save the money to give my kids the opportunity to succeed," she said. "In these difficult times we shouldn’t be cutting wages for middle-class families."
A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that a series of minimum wage hikes in that state have resulted in nearly $5 billion of new spending.
However, increased minimum wages can cause employers to cut staff or hold back on new hires. With the unemployment rate already high, some economists warn that raising the minimum wage can slow job growth and stall the economic recovery.